What I live for –
God’s smile upon me by way of Jesus’ intervention for me through the Holy Spirit in me.
What I live for –
God’s smile upon me by way of Jesus’ intervention for me through the Holy Spirit in me.
I love C. H. Spurgeon’s call to love Jesus with all we are for all that He is. This is from his devotional, “Morning and Evening”
Morning, October 14
“I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord.”
— Philippians 3:8
Spiritual knowledge of Christ will be a personal knowledge. I cannot know Jesus through another person’s acquaintance with him. No, I must know him myself; I must know him on my own account. It will be an intelligent knowledge—I must know him, not as the visionary dreams of him, but as the Word reveals him. I must know his natures, divine and human. I must know his offices—his attributes—his works—his shame—his glory. I must meditate upon him until I “comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; and know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge.” It will be an affectionate knowledge of him; indeed, if I know him at all, I must love him. An ounce of heart knowledge is worth a ton of head learning. Our knowledge of him will be a satisfying knowledge. When I know my Saviour, my mind will be full to the brim—I shall feel that I have that which my spirit panted after. “This is that bread whereof if a man eat he shall never hunger.” At the same time it will be an exciting knowledge; the more I know of my Beloved, the more I shall want to know. The higher I climb the loftier will be the summits which invite my eager footsteps. I shall want the more as I get the more. Like the miser’s treasure, my gold will make me covet more. To conclude; this knowledge of Christ Jesus will be a most happy one; in fact, so elevating, that sometimes it will completely bear me up above all trials, and doubts, and sorrows; and it will, while I enjoy it, make me something more than “Man that is born of woman, who is of few days, and full of trouble”; for it will fling about me the immortality of the ever living Saviour, and gird me with the golden girdle of his eternal joy. Come, my soul, sit at Jesus’s feet and learn of him all this day.
A good psalm for the harvest:
Blessed is the man
who walks not in the counsel of the wicked,
nor stands in the way of sinners,
nor sits in the seat of scoffers;
but his delight is in the law of the Lord,
and on his law he meditates day and night.
He is like a tree
planted by streams of water
that yields its fruit in its season,
and its leaf does not wither.
In all that he does, he prospers.
The wicked are not so,
but are like chaff that the wind drives away.
Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment,
nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous;
for the Lord knows the way of the righteous,
but the way of the wicked will perish.
What fruit will we yield in this season?
As part of my daily devotions I read through Scripture and read from Kenneth Osbeck’s “Amazing Grace: 366 Inspiring Hymn Stories for Daily Devotions”. I also frequently read from C. H. Spurgeon’s excellent “Morning and Evening” devotional. Today there was a happy overlapping of the devotional thoughts from them. First, here is a quote from the Spurgeon:
“We are married unto Christ; and shall our great Bridegroom permit his spouse to linger in constant grief? Our hearts are knit unto him: we are his members, and though for awhile we may suffer as our Head once suffered, yet we are even now blessed with heavenly blessings in him. We have the earnest (down payment or guarantee) of our inheritance in the comforts of the Spirit, which are neither few nor small. Inheritors of joy for ever, we have foretastes of our portion. There are streaks of the light of joy to herald our eternal sunrising. Our riches are beyond the sea; our city with firm foundations lies on the other side the river; gleams of glory from the spirit-world cheer our hearts, and urge us onward.”
The hymn for today is called “The Sands of Time Are Sinking” by Anne Ross Cousin (1824-1906). Here is the hymn text, as quoted in the devotional:
The sands of time are sinking, the dawn of heaven breaks; the summer morn I’ve sighed for—the fair, sweet morn awakes. Dark, dark hath been the midnight, but day-spring is at hand, and glory, glory dwelleth in Immanuel’s land.
O Christ, He is the fountain, the deep, sweet well of love! The streams on earth I’ve tasted more deep I’ll drink above: There to an ocean fulness His mercy doth expand, and glory, glory dwelleth in Immanuel’s land.
O I am my Beloved’s, and my Beloved’s mine! He brings a poor vile sinner into His “house of wine.” I stand upon His merit—I know no other stand, not e’en where glory dwelleth in Immanuel’s land.
The Bride eyes not her garment but her dear Bridegroom’s face; I will not gaze at glory but on my King of grace, not at the crown He giveth but on His pierced hand: The Lamb is all the glory of Immanuel’s land.
Spurgeon says, “we have foretastes of our portion”. The hymn says, “the streams on earth I’ve tasted more deep I’ll drink above.”
“There are streaks of the light of joy to herald our eternal sunrising”, says Spurgeon. “The dawn of heaven breaks…the fair, sweet morn awakes” speaks the hymn.
There is also the comparison of the church and Christ as Bridegroom and Bride: “We are married unto Christ; and shall our great Bridegroom permit his spouse to linger in constant grief?” “The Bride eyes not her garment but her dear Bridegroom’s face.”
All, all of this is written to encourage our hearts towards thoughts of our eternal home. May we ever more be sighing for that “summer morn” of the Eternal Day in Heaven…
It’s been a while since I’ve posted (I think since February). Let me re-start with a wonderful hymn of thanks, first published 300 years ago. Our songs of gratitude are ever sweet in God’s ear.
When all Thy mercies, O my God, my rising soul surveys,
Transported with the view I’m lost in wonder, love and praise.
Joseph Addison, 1672–1719
Exodus 2:23 During those many days the king of Egypt died, and the people of Israel groaned because of their slavery and cried out for help. Their cry for rescue from slavery came up to God.
24 And God heard their groaning, and God remembered his covenant with Abraham, with Isaac, and with Jacob.
25 God saw the people of Israel-and God knew.
In the days of Israel’s trials, God saw, God heard, and God knew. In our days of trials and sufferings and joys, rest assured that God sees, God hears and God knows. “You have kept count of my wanderings; put my tears in Your bottle. Are they not in Your book?…This I know, that God is for me.” (Ps. 56:8-9)
God sees, God hears, God knows. Above all that, God cares.
“Delight yourself in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart.” Psalm 37:4
I have always loved this verse. It speaks to me of what I call the upward spiral of delighting in the Lord.
I think of it this way. As I delight in the Lord, He gives me more of Himself through the fellowship of the Spirit. So, I am filled with love, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness, and self-control. As I am encouraged and refreshed by this fellowship with Him, it awakens in me a greater desire for *more*. God delights in giving us more of Himself, so He fulfills that desire. So then, I delight in Him afresh and all the more. So I am stirred to yet more Godly desires and leanings, and I pray to Him for them. And, He gives me *more*.
So I am on an upwardly ascending spiral, ever-reaching for Him and for my heavenly home, which becomes more and more my desire…
There will never be a day when I don’t have to fight for holiness. It will never come easily, but then, my inheritance was bought with precious blood. Why should I expect that my life in Christ should be a walk in the park?
Oh, give me strength, Lord, to carry on– each day coming to the cross and affirming again Your justice against my sin was paid for by Jesus. Justice, yes, and LOVE. (Rom. 5:8) Through Jesus, I have access to God’s grace daily. I have access to God’s unmerited favor towards me through the merit of Christ. I can rejoice! I have hope! Oh, fill me again with the sense of that hope and joy!
Monday morning, you sure look fine! It’s a beautiful start to the week. My proclivity towards stress and negativity haven’t woken up yet, though they linger at the door. There was this great quote from Spurgeon on Challies’ blog this morning: “How much of the staple of our conversation consists in complaint!” I am reflecting more and more on how my thinking needs to change in this area. It all relates to my trust and satisfaction in God and His provision. I fight against the tide of my own negative thinking all the time. Like most things, it is easiest just to go with the flow of my negativity, rather than fight against it. It ultimately is not the way I want to live my life, though.
I don’t want to just be a Pollyanna, either. I want a reasoned trust that looks for the best in all the situations I encounter, whether in planning or in the meeting of them along the way. How will I fight the battle today? How will I fight the battle in this moment? I’m not sure that negative thoughts are ones to “take captive”. I think it will be better to put them to death as a deed of the flesh. Certainly it is in the flesh that I do not trust in God’s provision, plan and timing. In the spirit, I realize that all things work together for good for those who love God and are called according to His purpose.
So, a negative thought, a gloomy outlook, a pessimistic expectation springs from my flesh. In short, it is sinful for me to entertain and nurture those thoughts. I want to change in my heart and in my thoughts and in my actions! Who can save me from this? Only you, Lord. Only you.
So, let’s take a bit of Psalm 56 and work it around to my application and desire for life change (and I don’t think it’s an inappropriate working of the verse.)
Ps. 56:3-4 “When I am afraid, I put my trust in you. In God, whose word I praise, in God I trust; I shall not be afraid. What can flesh do to me?”
(Since I battle fear as well, this is a great verse to think upon, to meditate upon, to soak into my thought- and action-life. Let’s look at it from the negativity framework in this instance.)
This is my prayerful application of those verses into my life. It is the way I pray Scripture to God and pray Scripture into my life and thinking. I suppose in some ways it is the “preparatory” corrective prayer. I will pray this Scripture prayer in daily preparation for the battle against negativity and pessimism. The struggle in the moment of temptation will be aided by this taking up of the sword of the Spirit in advance of the fight.
The fight will come, count on it. It will probably be a long struggle, since the formation of the habit of negativity took years and years. I am confident, though, that it is God’s will for me to trust in Him in all circumstances. I trust that it is according to His good purposes that He wants me to be joyful and confident in Him and His provision and plan. Since these things are in accordance to His will, I know that they will be accomplished in me as I “work out my salvation with fear and trembling”, knowing that “it is God who works in [me], both to will and work for *his* (and my) good pleasure.”
In all things, may He receive the glory. What is done for His glory is ultimately for my good, too.
“My heart is steadfast, O God, my heart is steadfast!
I will sing and make melody!
Awake, my glory!
Awake, O harp and lyre!
I will awake the dawn!
I will give thanks to you, O Lord, among the peoples;
I will sing praises to you among the nations.
For your steadfast love is great to the heavens, your faithfulness to the clouds.
Be exalted, O God, above the heavens!
Let your glory be over all the earth!”
This is a great thought about grace:
“There is nothing in human experience alone that can awaken a person to the full reality of God’s grace. What Jesus did for us, the grace that His life and death is for us, is eternally impossible to fully comprehend. The fact that people like us will live with God FOREVER is purely His gracious gift to us. Sadly, even though we know so much about grace, we continue to make obeying rules the high watermark of our lives, rather than grace.”
(Richard Ganz, quoted on Tim Challies’ blog)